The place: Pizzeria 712, housed in that large, unfinished condo complex, at 320 South State Street, Orem, UT 84058
Contact info: online at http://pizzeria712.com, by phone at (801) 623-6712
- Lunch: Mon – Fri / 11:30 – 2:30
- Dinner: Mon – Thurs / 5 – 10
- Dinner: Fri & Sat / 5 – 11
About: Pizzeria Seven Twelve is an Heirloom Group Restaurant. A collaboration between chef/owners Colton Soelberg and Joseph McRae, it is the group’s first restaurant, established in Orem, Utah in 2009. Driven by a heartfelt desire for sharing the beauty of good, simple food and all that it encompasses, the Heirloom Restaurant Group aspires to create nothing less than “experiential dining that can change your life.”
The atmosphere at Pizzeria Seven Twelve is strictly casual. We offer something for everyone, and everyone is welcome. An open kitchen invites you to watch and interact with our chefs, tables are made of sturdy wood and the artwork is original and local. There’s a small patio for outdoor dining whenever the weather allows. We are pleased to serve some nice Italian wines and good microbrews in addition to other fine beverages for all ages. Source: Pizzeria 712 website, http://pizzeria712.com/about/
The ambiance: I loved everything about Pizzeria 712. The floorplan was deliciously open, but not so much that you felt as though you were eating in a drafty warehouse. The decor is modern with a touch of old-school nostalgia, and the open kitchen takes center stage, where you can watch a delightfully tattooed and mustached man put together what can only be described as the most delicious pizza on earth. The music is enhanced by the sound of people prepping dough in the background, a natural staccato.
The Munch: It was recommended to me by my hairstylist that we order one of everything and then share it, and since she, too, is a foodie and I trust her general food judgment, that’s what we decided to do. We ordered:
- marinated rockhill creamery feta
- hand pulled mozzarella, local tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar salad
- hand pulled mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil pizza
- winder farms buttermilk panna cotta
Instead of bread and EVOO (as at many traditional Italian eateries), you’re served up warm, homemade pita slices with a housemade roasted red pepper hummus. I wouldn’t consider myself an aficionado of hummus by any means, but there have been two hummuses I’ve eaten in my entire life that I considered good enough, and Pizzeria 712’s was one of them. It’s perfectly smooth and creamy, with a mild flavor, enhanced (rather than overpowered) by fresh garlic and lemon juice.
That being said, you can probably forego the appetizer in general, especially if you’re trying to eat on a budget (although my biggest recommendation is to forego a couple other meals out at lesser restaurants and order the whole menu at Pizzeria). The feta was extremely sharp, which Husband didn’t care for one bit, and very salty, which I didn’t particularly care for (I have a sensitivity to salt, what can I say?) but paired with the pita and hummus, it was almost transcendent.
If you know even an iota about food, you know Husband and I ordered a Caprese salad followed by a Margherita pizza, and those two things are identical aside from the fact that one is cold and the other is hot and on pizza crust. We like what we like. But even though we ordered two very similar menu items, made with many of the exact same ingredients, we had two very different culinary experiences.
The hand pulled mozzarella, local tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar salad literally changed my life for the better. Housemade cheese is always going to be better than essentially everything else in the world, and theirs did not disappoint in the least. It’s silky smooth and firm, and although it has the milkiness that naturally accompanies mozz, it wasn’t slippery or too wet — wet cheese is the bane of my existence. The local tomatoes were perfection; so ripe, you almost thought they’d go bad the following day, with a vivid, deep red color and incredible sweetness. Had the server come out, saying they were somehow out of cheese, basil, balsamic, and EVOO, I would have been perfectly happy with a plate full of those tomatoes. The basil was a bright, happy green and very fresh.
The pizza was more or less the same — in regards to the similar ingredients, “ditto,” although I noticed the cheese melted really nicely (no odd pools of grease, although you’d probably be hard pressed to get grease from melting mozz in the first place, and if you do, you’re doing it wrong.) and the basil had some nice crispy edges. The pizza baked for only a few minutes on a cracker thin crust in a brick oven. In my food opinion, ’nuff said, but for those of you wanting more, it had a perfect chew, a nice, firey flavor (I’m lost for words, but I know you know what I mean), and a good, yeasty aftertaste. The tomato sauce was clearly housemade and was the sort of food that made me think, “Oh, this is how it’s supposed to taste.”
In fact, that’s what could be said about the meal as a whole: if this is how Italian food is supposed to taste, I’ve been eating the wrong Italian food my entire life. Scratch that — if this is how food is supposed to taste, I’ve been doing it wrong.
I didn’t think there was much else that could round out this perfect meal any better than it already was, but when we ordered the buttermilk panna cotta, we set into motion the close to an idyllic meal.
I’m not a big fan of panna cotta. In fact, it reminds me too much of flan, and flan is everything I don’t want food to be like. I’m a texture eater, and flan has the worst texture, in my opinion. (Yes, I eat Jell-o, pudding, and creme brulee, and yes, I realize that seems like a contradiction in terms.) But I was on a quest to have the sort of meal I hadn’t eaten before, so we decided to bite the bullet and order the panna cotta.
If someone had timed us, I daresay we devoured that silky smooth, velvety, rich, creamy, cool dessert topped with macerated blackberries in about 45 seconds tops. We never put our spoons down, till the plate was empty. And at the end of the meal, I cried, just a little bit, because I had been rendered speechless.
The bill: $42.65, including tax and tip. There are ways you can get around the cost if you’re wanting to save a few bucks here or there — as aforementioned, skip the appetizer, maybe order a half size salad — but in the end, it’s just not worth it. Pizzeria 712 is solidly a restaurant at which you’ll want to splurge in every possible way. And when you really think about the local sustainability; that your dollars are staying within the local economy in the best way possible (short of giving it straight to the farmers), then you can rest easy over the cost. Plus, for the quality of food, it’s entirely worth it. This isn’t $40 you’ve spent at P.F. Chang’s, after all.
Total score: 10/10 — I’ve yet to find another restaurant that comes even sort of close to Pizzeria 712.